Return to Grace; Elvis Unfortunately – Has Left the Building ! Montreal Review

If attending ‘Return to Grace’ at Place des Arts over the course of the next week or so, close your eyes.

Something somewhat common takes place. Steve Michaels sings and sounds just like his alter ego; Elvis Presley. Songs heard a thousand times before pierce memories from far inside brains. Transporting people to the fifties, sixties and the seventies. Elvis, audibly and with eyes closed shut – never died. 

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Open your eyes. 

Elvis is still dead.

‘Return to Grace’ is an attempt to bring Presley back to life and more importantly, introduce entire generations to a figure known to them as; ‘That Fat Guy’. Youtube and tales from parents and / or Grandparents cannot bring the legend back to life.

Live or dead …

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The production team of Return to Grace do an outstanding job. The entire evening is periodically punctuated with a narrative. Explaining both historic events of Elvis’ lifetime and Elvis’ own historic events.

From Sun Records, an honorable Army appearance, his 68′ Comeback special and his very historic first- of- a- kind satellite broadcast from Hawaii. Elvis’ time capsule has been unearthed and thankfully, the movie version of Presley was not found.

A quarter of the way into the show, somewhere before or after ‘Return to Sender’, a magical thing happens. Michaels becomes Elvis.  The crowd’s snobby ‘ No One is Elvis’ attitude disappears and Michaels himself gets into the role. In fairness, Michaels is in character from the get-go, the audience is not.  A combination of the songs and theatrics ( dancers, back – up singers, choreography  and costumes)  kills the most ardent Ebenezer music fan. Michael’s mannerisms, voice and gestures, closer to the real Elvis than Priscilla was in the past few months of her marriage to Elvis.

 If Robert Downey Jr. is Ironman – Steve Michaels is ‘The King’ …

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Michaels’ is the star in a role which must be one pressure cooker. After all, Presley was one of the most unique characters not just in the past fifty years,  a deity of the ages.

Michaels’ voice carries the tunes and his banter cracks the jokes. Uncanningly duplicating Elvis’ balancing act of confidence and shyness. Michaels nails the Devil and the Angel inside of Elvis. The good and evil. Any tribute to Elvis would be void without Presley’s personality. Presley’s persona as much  part of his fame as his fame was to his persona. Michaels and his team, the perfect students in a Graceland classroom. Disciples of Elvis’ church.

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All the hits were onboard. ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘In the Ghetto‘. Teddy Bear’, Suspicious Minds’, ‘Lonesome Tonight’ and ‘Love Me Tender’. Just some  of the timeless songs which Elvis ( Michaels) bestowed upon his adoring public at Salle Wilfred Pelletier. 

‘American Trilogy’ – done faithfully from Elvis; Aloha from Hawaii, stole the second part of the evening. A recreation both physically ( jumpsuit)  and vocally.  A powerful tune in the satellite special, more powerful in person. The words; ‘Glory Glory Hallelujah’ sending shivers through spines bent over in awe. The backing vocals, male and female,  providing the ‘spirit’ of the Hawaii show spiritually, religiously and  righteous.

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If ‘The Steve Michaels’ Special’ does anything, it fulfills a legacy through music and performance. Reminding ‘the punters’ of a time when showmanship was backed up by musicianship. 

Elvis Aaron Presley used to put on shows that made eyes and ears stay open. Steve Micheals  duplicates it.

Eyes and ears very wide open …

 

Visit Return to Grace Here !

 

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Montreal International Jazz Festival Preview; ‘Moving Forward’ with Adam Karch

Adam Karch is a hard working guitar player. Always learning but quick to pay homage to songwriters …
Adam Karch-Studio-0001Karch has a new album out and unlike his last disc ‘Blueprints’‘Moving Forward’ contains mostly original songs. With a few precious covers tossed into the mix. You know – to mix it up a bit …

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Please listen below to my chat with Adam. Find out when he will be appearing at

The Montreal International Jazz Festival !

Adam? What’s Up?

 

 

Visit Jazz Festival Here !

Buy the Album Here !
Buy the Album Here !

Visit Strangers in the Night Here to Buy Tickets

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Montreal International Jazz Festival Preview; The Paul DesLauriers Band are ‘Relentless’!

Paul DesLauriers is a relentless soul …

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This Cornwall, Ontario – born guitar player is on a mission. To ensure his band plays to their utmost potential, A ‘relentless’ pursuit of all things good within the Blues.

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Please listen below to my chat with Paul as he explains everything about the album ‘Relentless’ and the mindset within 

The Paul DesLauriers

 Band.

Paul?

What’s Up?

 

Visit Paul Here !

Visit Jazz Festival Here !

Buy the Album Here !
Buy the Album Here !

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Visit Strangers in the Night Here to Buy Tickets

 

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Michael Blum – A Jazzy Tribute to Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson is much loved in these here parts. Montreal being the parts and Peterson the sum. 

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Somewhat strangely – an American guitarist has taken things in his own hands. Paying homage to Peterson through his CD Chasin’ Oscar due in stores on June 17th.

Strangely for two reasons. One, Michael Blum is a Jazz guitarist and two – Michael Blum is a Jazz guitarist?

Please listen below as Michael explains everything and hear a few tunes from

The Michael Blum Quartet.

Michael? What’s Up?

 

 

Visit Michael Here !

 

Buy the Album Here !
Buy the Album Here !

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Visit Strangers in the Night Here to Buy Tickets

 

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Cristie Healey; Remembering Jeff …

Jeff Healey was one of a kind …

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There were many guitarists better than him. He was better than many guitarists. The one thing that set Jeff apart was something many do not have.

Courage.

 

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Courage to obtain goals. One thing which made Jeff  the man whose legacy will remain forever. Because of courage.

Please listen below as Cristie Healey – Jeff’s widow, talks about her husband in a way only a best friend could.

Cristie?

 

 

Visit Jeff Healey Here !

Visit Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund Here!

Visit James St Laurent Here!

 

 

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